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African Minerals firms up $1.5 bln investment deal with Shandong

07-14-2010 13:42 BJT

BEIJING, July 14 (Xinhaunet) -- Shandong Iron & Steel Group on Tuesday said it will pay $1.5 billion for a 25 percent stake in African Minerals' iron ore project in Sierra Leone to bolster raw material supplies.

London-listed African Minerals announced on Tuesday that it has sealed a second investment deal with Shandong Steel, China's fifth-largest steel mill by output, for the Tonkolili project in Sierra Leone. Under the deal Shandong will also buy 10 million tons of iron ore every year at discounted prices.

"The strategic investment will help us accelerate the development of Tonkolili," Frank Timis, executive chairman of African Minerals, said in a statement.

African Minerals already has a tie up with China Railway Material (CRM) and is expected to deliver 8 million tons of iron ore next year. It secured a deal in April to sell CRM a 12.5 percent stake for $280 million to help fund the first stage of the Tonkolili project, as well as an offtake agreement for future iron ore output.

The deal with Shandong will also help the company fund the Tonkolili capacity expansion to 10 million tons a year from 8 million tons.

Timis told China Daily in June that African Minerals was in talks with several Chinese companies to raise $5 billion for expanding its annual capacity to 45 million tons.

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